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Cuyahoga County Settles Lawsuit Over Foreclosure Funds

They say the wheels of justice grind slowly.

One Cuyahoga County resident can confirm the cliché, with resolution finally in sight for her 26-year-old foreclosure case.

After the county foreclosed on Mary Lynn Gattozzi’s house in 1995, she sued, claiming she was entitled to the difference between what she owed and what the property was sold for in a sheriff’s sale: $15,000.

It took 15 years, but the county eventually paid up.

Still, Gattozzi wasn’t satisfied. She filed a class action lawsuit seeking back interest on that money and overages on other foreclosed properties the county sold.

The dispute lasted 11 more years – Cuyahoga County Council on Tuesday approved a $350,000 total payment for all the plaintiffs in the class. Council members discussed the settlement in a closed executive session before voting unanimously to approve the payment.

The court will decide how much each plaintiff will receive.

According to Gattozzi’s attorney, the agreement still has to be signed and approved in court.

“Suffice it to say, we have been working to get it resolved as quickly as we could,” said Chicago-based attorney Charles Watkins. “And we’ve had appeals to the appellate courts in Ohio and the Ohio Supreme Court, we’ve had a pandemic, and it has just taken a long time.”

Watkins said his firm is still finding everyone who can be included in the lawsuit; anyone who had unclaimed funds held by the county after 2010 is eligible.

There’s no agreement on whether the county can continue to keep interest collected from this pot of money.

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